- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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So it all comes down to this, the final day of the regular season:
Who do you want the Brooklyn Nets to face in the playoffs?
The scenarios are as follows:
• If the Nets (44-37) win in Cleveland, they get the No. 5 seed.
• If the Nets lose in Cleveland and Washington (43-38) wins in Boston, the Nets get the No. 6 seed. The Wizards hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-0 regular-season record against Brooklyn.
• If both the Nets and Wizards lose, the Nets get the No. 5 seed.
• If the Raptors win in New York, Toronto gets the No. 3 seed.
• If the Raptors lose in New York and Chicago wins in Charlotte, Toronto gets the No. 4 seed. Toronto holds the tiebreaker over the Bulls by virtue of its Atlantic Division title.
• If both the Raptors and Bulls lose, the Raptors get the No. 3 seed.
It appeared as though the Nets were going to lock up the No. 5 seed, but they’ve lost three of their last four games -- all to sub-.500 opponents.
In speaking with people within the organization, it sounds as though the majority would rather avoid Chicago and face Toronto.
But the bottom line is, both teams are going to be a challenge for Brooklyn:
The Bulls eliminated the Nets in the first round last season. They play a physical brand of basketball under Tom Thibodeau, priding themselves on being tenacious defensively. Chicago’s biggest advantage appears to be up front, where Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer would likely give Brooklyn fits.
The Raptors, on the other hand, have a terrific backcourt in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan -- two extremely tough covers. Lowry especially requires the attention of the entire Nets’ defense. Toronto is a great 3-point shooting team, while Brooklyn is not great defending beyond the arc. The Raptors' starting bigs, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson, are no slouches either.
Question: Whom do you prefer the Nets face in the first round? Let us know in the comments section below.
Stats of the night: The Nets finished the regular season by winning 16 of their final 18 games at home. They went 28-13 at Barclays Center this season. Deron Williams has made a steal in 30 consecutive games. Mason Plumlee is averaging 15 points and 7.3 rebounds on 80.9 percent shooting in his last six games.
Up next: Nets at Cavaliers on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
4dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo